Australian blues woman Fiona Boyes is as nice a person as she is talented and her talent shines on her new Yellow Dog album, “Blues Woman.” Recorded in Austin, Texas, and produced by saxophonist Mark ‘Kaz’ Kazanoff who has put together a solid band including guitarist, Derek O’Brien; drummer, Jimi Bott; bassist, Ronnie James; B-3 organ and piano, Nick Connolly; and the Texas horns (Kazanoff on saxophones and Al Gomez on trumpet) with guest appearances from Watermelon Slim, Marcia Ball and Pinetop Perkins for a varied collection of performances of mostly original material that includes one cover and some heartfelt songs.
The opening “Woman Ain’t a Mule,” shows her feisty side as she tells her man that he make think of his woman as a mule or slave to his whims, but she has other ideas, or the similarly toned medium temp shuffle “Precious Time,” with her complaint that she has worked to hard to let that man waste her precious time. Her solo is noteworthy in her restraint and her focus on rocking some chords.
She renders J.B. Lenoir’s “I Want to Go,” with just bass and Jimi Bott’s congas for a down the country flavor which also characterizes here “Fishin’ Hole,” with Connolly adding some rollicking piano. Marcia Ball adds her piano and Watermelon Slim his harmonica and a spoken part as a hellfire priest to “The Barrelhouse Funeral,” with Fiona celebrating with driving resonator guitar and vocal a barrel housing, hell raising man’s funeral.
“Do You Feel Better,” is a lovely fifties style pop ballad with a lovely bit of sax and nice biting tremolo guitar from Boyes. “Train to Hopeville,” sports a lively Crescent City rumba groove, while “Got My Eye On You,” a song about her attraction to this gentleman has a ripping baritone solo from Kazanoff. She plays some nice slide on “City Born Country Gal” while her one solo piece, “Juke Joint on Moses Lane,” celebrates the Florida club, Bradfordville Blues Club of which she sings that she can’t wait to get there to have herself a ball.
This is a terrifically entertaining recording full of strong, spirited songs and playing that will have toes tapping and fingers snapping.
Fiona is once again a nominee for Traditional Female Blues Artist of the Year in the 2009 Blues Music Awards. I peeviously blogged about her in June 2006. This review originally appeared in the September-October 15 issue (issue 219) of Jazz & Blues Report in substantially the same form. It can be downloaded at www.jazz-blues.com. The review CD was supplied by Fiona Boyes' publicity firm.